Saturday
Sep012012

Another 5 Months...

So yes, another five months have passed and WHAT am I doing now?  Nothing, just sending a nice little update for those of you who check back and expect to see something more than I've been offering lately.

 

Things here in Japan are still as 'good' as ever.  Work has been busy and travel has been a constant priority.  Now that travel isn't just in and around Japan, it includes trips over-seas.  A while ago I had the pleasure of going on a cruise through the North Sea.  Quite an adventure and yes, I will be posting up some photos from that trip here.

 

In the mean-time, here are a few shots from around Tokyo for you to occupy yourself with.

 

Cheers!

Saturday
Apr282012

It's Only Been... 8 Months...

OK ok ok... so I've let my blog-updating slide a little bit.  It's only been 3/4 of a year though, not TOO long!

 

I guess I should start with a brief update as to what's going on, so here goes nothing.  The studio is in it's new location, here in Asakusa (previously Iriya).  The wedding itself went off quite well and without much trouble (if any) other than the groom was drained of energy and was incredibly tired the entire day.  The family from Canada came to visit Japan for the first time and everyone had a pretty good time - no sickness, no health troubles, no worries.

Now things have settled down and spring is on it's way.  Oh, as a side note, it turns that I have suddenly developed hay-fever... that's a new one for me.  I can't say I'm a huge fan of it by any strech of the imagination but I guess I'll just have to deal with it from now on.

Not a huge update, but I'll do my best to keep you folks entertained from here-on-out.  If you have any requests on write-ups, please post up your ideas and I'll do what I can to help fulfill them.

Cheers!

 

Thursday
Sep152011

Long Time, No Type

It has been quite a while since I last updated the website blog and after March's events, its probably time to do so.

 


As most of you know, there was not only a major earthquake that shook Japan but a massive Tsunami to follow shortly there-after. While the quake caused much damage, it can be said without a doubt that the tsunami was the main source of destruction and death. We keep those affected in our hearts and thoughts,

While many foreigners tried to escape japan via Narita airport in the hours following the quake, I on the other hand was stuck close by the airport and with the trains and expressways shut down, took nearly 33 hours to get home to Asakusa in Tokyo. The days after were filled with stress, concern, and very little sleep as we experienced over 300 strong aftershocks within 48 hours of the first quake.

Luckily for a Canadian way of thinking, we had enough food and water, however many didn't and very soon all of the supermarkets, grocery stores and even convenient stores were sold out of anything that contained food value. Feel free to criticize my next comment but i have a feeling that if such an event might occur in the states, the liquor and water would be the first things missing from the combinis (convenient stores). The one product that was virtually untouched in stores here... The liquor.

I made a few preparations as well, more out of necessity than anything. Firstly I collected all of the empty plastic bottles that I had and 'un-crushed' those which I had made ready for recycling. I then cleaned them and filled each with purified water, just incase we were hit again and lost water pressure to my 8th floor apartment. Next as a utility water reservoir, filled the bath tub to overflow. If the water pressure went, at least I could use this water to flush the toilet or take a sponge bath.

One other minor preparation I made was to do something that many have teased me about... I bought a fishing rod. If all else fails, I am close to a river and while the fish may not be the best to eat, at least we won't go hungry. I spoke with the owner of the fishing shop and aside from his regulars, I was the first person to buy a rod in the four days since the initial quake, much to my surprise.

For me and the studio, business dropped sharply. Bookings were cancelled and many people chose to take a nice vacation, until things settled down. One man told me on the phone that those people were over reacting and that we had nothing to worry about... This coming from a sociopath who, if back working in middle America would amount to nothing more than a line cook at McDonalds. Needless to say, things got worse before they got better. Two of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power centers exploded outwards due to a buildup of nitrogen pressure within the facility, radiation leaked and many of those lost to the tsunami started showing up again along the shores of Chiba.

That was over six months ago...

Food has returned to the shelves of supermarkets, combinis and other centers (although most products still sell out early in the day which before was an unusual occurrence). It was established that TEPCO, the company in charge of the reactors has lied for several months about how severe the problem was (is) and radiation hotspots that are beyond safety limits are popping up around Japan, even so far south as Kashiwa, Chiba (source: Mr. S. Marking, independent research). However, even with the troubles, the constant aftershocks and the worrying families back home, we continue with our lives. The studio is now open again Monday to Friday and friends are slowly returning to Japan.

It's beyond asking for you to wish us luck. Luck is something we've proven that we have, for now, just think of us and if you see a donation box, consider dropping in a few hundred yen,

Cheers from Japan.

Sunday
Mar272011

Darkened Tokyo

If you have lived here (Tokyo) for any amount of time, you will have noticed that once te sun goes down, the darkened world takes over Tokyo in a very strange sense.  While there are many street-lights that help fill the roadways, side-streets and even a few alleys with an incandescent hughe, you will also notice that there are quite a few more side-streets that are not lit than lit.  This may be an old power saving method, it could be due to the hassle of installing extra lights or it could also be in part due to the safety of the country.

Unlike back home in Canada where a dark street can be nerve-wracking to walk down for even someone experienced in fighting, the dark alleys of Tokyo are rarely anything to fear for anyone other than little children who still worry about the boogy man.  While it is true that there are certainly some areas of Tokyo that are more prone to crime than others, it is very rare to find an actual mugger, violent gang or even a person willing on picking a fight with you.

 

Japan... country of low crime.

 

Thursday
Mar242011

While the last couple of updates have given a basic idea of what is going on now, it should be noted that the trip getting from my old work-place to my apartment in Asakusa, Tokyo took a little longer than expected. What usually is a 2.5 hour bus-to-train-to-bus ride took nearly 30 hours door to door. A cramped car with little provisions (most had been sold to the locals in the minutes following the first quake) and a 45km trip home proved quite a trial unto itself.

 

One of the main reasons it was such as task is because of the quake, the expressways were shut down which required us to crawl along the pavement of side-streets which were packed with thousands and thousands of cars. It was near grid-lock for 40km until in the early morning when one of the expressways finally opened up.  Some may say that they felt the quake and it wasn't very strong, however it should be noted that it was strong enough to bend the top of the Tokyo Tower.